art · blogging · collecting · inspiration · reflections · the persona of a writer · writer's notebook

Writer’s Notebooks, Art Journals, Scrapbooking, Blogs???

Liza Lee Miller said: 

Okay . . . here’s a question for you. As a teacher, as a writer, as an artist . . . what is the difference between a Writer’s Workbook and an Art Journal. My mother and sister keep art journals and ephemera is a huge part of that for them. I don’t keep any journal except my blog anymore and ephemera ends up in the trash for me. So, I think I’d better get it clear myself before I try to teach my students. And, I think maybe I’d better add glue sticks to the WW tub. )

Thanks for the comment Liza; I’ve been thinking about it all day long.

As far as the difference between writer’s notebooks and art journals, I think it comes down to the purpose.   A writer’s notebook is a tool to enable writers to get their thoughts, stories, opinions, memories out in words.  An art journal is a tool to enable artists to get their thoughts, stories, opinions, memories out in art.  There will be many similarities between the two, because the point of each is to capture the owner’s life.  The output is different though:  words vs. pictures.

Yesterday, one of the teachers in the training compared the writer’s notebook to creating a scrapbook page.  Again, I think the difference lies in the purpose.  The writer’s notebook is a tool that gets to the story.  A scrapbook page is a final, published version of the story using pictures + words + product.

The stories I capture on my blogs, I feel, are a step between the writer’s notebook and the final product.  Often these are drafts, which have been revised and edited a bit . . . but probably need more.  The writing in my writer’s notebook is always more raw and more in-the-moment than that on my blogs.  I always do more rereading and, thus revising, in the writing on my blogs.

Last August I wrote about the different notebooks in my life  I realize now that I have even more.  There are notebooks all around the edges of my life.  Here are some places you’d fine notebooks if you went on a scavenger hunt around my home:

  1. In my purse
  2. On top of the dryer
  3. In my backpack
  4. By my bed
  5. On my studio desk
  6. In my car

I’ve found that by having many notebooks, scattered around my life, it is easier for me to capture the moments that make up life.

Where do you keep notebooks to make it easy to pick up pieces of your day-to-day living?

3 thoughts on “Writer’s Notebooks, Art Journals, Scrapbooking, Blogs???

  1. I have a small notebook in my purse for random note, a composition book in my work bag for reflections and observations, a planner that also has a page per week for taking notes, and a classroom journal for writing down what I hear and see, thoughts and ideas for plannng our days together. I also have a lovely leather journal with refillable pages that I use for personal stuff (kept by my bed) and a book lovers diary on my desk to record what I am reading or books I want to read. But somehow, I still have scraps of paper with bits and pieces of life on them that need to be transferred to the planner or one of the notebooks.


  2. Thank you so much for answering my question. I hear what you are saying about purpose and the main mode of creativity. I think I will add glue sticks to my WW tub, however. I think getting kids to add images to their notebooks would be a great way to help those who are logjammed and/or think they can’t write well to push through. In a related note, my son and his friend were making movies with our camcorder. They were doing a great job but I noticed a certain lack of focus in their story (although it did have a plot!) so I suggested that they storyboard it before they film it. They loved it and ran with it.


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